I am Madison Sampson, from Charlotte, NC. Currently I am in the last semester of my Master program at the University of NC at Greensboro! Very excited to graduate in May with a Master degree in Public Affairs. I am full time in school and also serve as a Graduate Assistant for Academic Service Learning with the Office of Leadership and Service Learning.

What goals do you have for yourself or what vision do you have for your community?

Right now, three goals I have for myself are: 

  1.  Securing a position after graduating that truly allows me to be an advocate for the needs of communities of color. I would love for that to be through nonprofit programming or through a government agency. 
  2. Taking browngirlFEARLESS to the next level by uniting more brown bloggers and activists and creating sustainable browngirlFEARLESS community projects such as a book donation service. 
  3. Always be genuine. It is important for me to maintain a sense of realness with everything I do. I believe that the best way to be an advocate is to be honest in your approach and have a genuine reason for wanting to serve people.

How are you working towards these goals?

I am working towards these goals by keeping myself grounded. A lot of opportunities have come up, especially by winning Miss Black NC USA this year. But I have to constantly remind myself that I am doing all of this to make brown communities stronger and that purpose is bigger than myself. Therefore, I have to keep a list of my priorities, focus on them, pray about them, and boldly pursue what God has for me.

What obstacles have you faced? What lessons have you learned? 

One obstacle I faced in my past was experiencing homelessness as a child. There were many mentally and emotionally challenging aspects of that experience, most of which led to me feeling unworthy of success or greatness. As an adult I still find myself struggling to feel worthy of the blessings God has bestowed upon my life. Self-deprecating to the point of not being able to embrace good things that happen to me such as earning scholarships or launching projects that I never would’ve imagined I could do. The more I reflect on why I handle things the way I do, the more I realize it was because of the narrative I believed about girls that grow up without money or lots of opportunity, that I will never be able to be better than that, that I will always be another poor black girl from the south. But I’ve learned, and I am still learning, that the success is not defined by the world, you define your own success and that no matter what the world says your limits are, God already has already prepared a way for you to push beyond those limits.

Who motivates you the most? and What inspires you the most?

What has given me my most recent motivation is becoming an aunt. Even as I think about it right now I’m getting emotional… Two years ago I became auntie to the most amazing niece in the world. I know, I know, everyone thinks they have the best nieces and nephews! haha… but I do! But in all seriousness, my aunts are women that I have always looked up to and now that I have received the authority to pour into a little brown girl they way my aunts pour into me, is a big deal. I don’t take being a role model lightly. I know that little girls are always watching and trying to find their place in the world based on what women who look like them have done, and I refuse to inspire them to be anything less than FEARLESS. This world wants us to cower and be mediocre, but I want to be more because I want my niece and every other little girl to know that they can do anything. Which is why, people aside, the “what” that inspires me would be adversity. Knowing that the world is constantly trying to keep people from making a difference and the enemy is always trying to destroy the spirit of hope, all of that keeps me going – and I won’t stop.

How can people follow what your doing or contact you? (Ie. website, email, social media)

I would LOVE for people to stay in contact with me via social media (Instagram @7am_) and by checking out the work I’m doing with browngirlFEARLESS. browngirlFEARLESS is a blog and a community initiative focused on inspiring brown girls to love themselves by embracing a spirit of fearlessness (browngirlFEARLESS.weebly.com, Facebook/Instagram @browngirlFEARLESS, and Twitter @brwngrlFEARLESS). Folks can also follow my reign this year as Miss Black NC USA 2017 Facebook/Instagram @MissBlackNCUSA. There are contact pages on each of those outlets if anyone would like to communicate with me directly via email. Cant wait to connect with everyone!